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The Nuclear debate rages on...

By Benevolence ·
George Ou recently opened up a particularly large can of worms recently when he wrote an article discussing the myths surrounding Windows XP and power consumption. Much of the debate has turned into a discussion on how to best produce power whilst reducing pollution.

One thing many people seem to agree on is that whether or not humans are contributing to global warming, it is in our best interests to reduce the effect and protect our environment.

Some of us believe we need to move toward nuclear energy production, and some of us believe this is a bad idea.

With so many new developments in energy production, and so many differing arguments, what do you think is the direction we should head in?

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Increasing scale increases risk.

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to Actually.

The more weapons grade material you create, the more people you have managing it, the more likely you are to have someone less adequately trained or less adequately screened, the more likely you are to have some 'go missing'.

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How many have died from Nuclear energy versus coal or hydro?

by georgeou In reply to Actually.

In recent years we've had many coal accidents with people dying.

In the 70s there was a dam that broke in Hunan China that killed an estimated 60,000 people.

How many have died in the United States, Europe, or Japan from Nuclear power accidents? I can't really think of any. France uses almost all Nuclear. Even the Chernobyl accident which didn't even have a second containment wall and required monumental operator stupidity to trigger only killed about a hundred people.

US lags far behind Europe and Japan in the amount of nuclear energy we use.

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George. Seriously!

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

"Chernobyl accident which didn't even have a second containment wall and required monumental operator stupidity to trigger only killed about a hundred people."

Seriously George, have you seen how many people have been seriously affected by the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. It aint a pretty situation, don't ever question that.

Again, Nuclear in limited application is still probably necessary for now, but is NOT a good long term situation, as it is NON RENEWABLE!

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Nuclear power is "non-renewable?"

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

I'm guessing that you're unfamiliar with the breeder reactors, which are capable of producing, in addition to thermal waste energy which can be used for the generation of electricity, more fuel for itself as well.

Considering that our Sun is itself a nuclear reactor, which will one day run out of fuel and shut down, it seems that a breeder reactor is a more "renewable" source of energy than is any star.

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Further Explanation

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

Breeder reactors are not yet able to produce more 'energy' (in the form of fuel) than they consume.

""Considering that our Sun is itself a nuclear reactor, which will one day run out of fuel and shut down, it seems that a breeder reactor is a more "renewable" source of energy than is any star.""

Firstly, if the sun shuts down, we shut down, and as such, we will no longer need power.

You see, the thing is, it is impossible to create energy from nothing. As such, looking for as renewable source as is possible is a good idea. The sun is in fact by far a more efficient reactor than anything we could hope to build (at least for the next 500 years or so). Efficiently harnessing that power is the most renewable source of power we can hope for.

As a side note, as the sun exists outside of our influence (at least where is comes to harnessing power), it is considered fully 'renewable'.

My current position is that the most logical road to take would be to use nuclear technology for a short period of time while thoroughly researching solar.

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Elaboration re. "renewability"

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

1) A breeder reactor transmutes elements/isotopes not suitable for use as its own fuel into those which are.

2) Stars can only transmute lighter elements into heavier ones, which ultimately leads to a dead end.

Thus, breeder reactors are able to do that which stars cannot, i.e. renew their own source of fuel.

As for the fate of mankind when Sol dies, that need not mean our death as well; there is at least one entire universe open to our resettlement.

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...further...

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

I know full what the idea of a breeder reactor is. But that is not the point. Fuel, in EVERY form, gets 'used up'. We can only try to create reactors that use available fuel in the most efficient way possible. You CAN NOT create a 'perpetual motion machine' in the form of a breeder reactor.

Stars actually burn extremely efficiently, and are conveniently located away from lifeforms. The fact that our star is already in existence (and, in fact, provides us with life) makes it a very useful resource for energy translation.

Relocation for the human race is, at this point in time, not a reality. It will hopefully be possible at some point in time, but that time is a long way off.

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"perpetual motion machine" ?

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

Where did I suggest that a breeder reactor could function as an infinite energy source?

I simply pointed out that such a reactor was capable of doing something that stars could not.

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Well...

by Benevolence In reply to Actually.

I am just trying to impress upon you the idea of 'renewability'. A Breeder Reactor can not create all of it's own fuel - that would make it able to function as a perpetual motion machine (PMM)... what's more, it would have to be even more efficient than the non-existent PMM to produce power, and it's own fuel.

I fully agree that Nuclear Reactor design is heading towards being REALLY efficient, but they will always consume fuel and produce waste.

To tell you the truth, as far as I know, stars burn SO hot that they do actually consume a lot of what we would produce as waste.

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A breeder reactor does produce more "fuel" than it consumes.

by deepsand In reply to Actually.

No, it does not create matter; but, it does both transform matter into energy and matter into different matter, with the latter matter being the very fuel it requires.

See

http://www.argee.net/DefenseWatch/Nuclear%20Waste%20and%20Breeder%20Reactors.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_breeder_reactor

to name but a few.

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